Yemen Observer: Al Badawi “In Jail”

Most likely because of the vagueness of the government statement, the Yemen Observer has been trying to get definitive proof that al Badawi is actually in prison and not under house arrest. Jane over at Armies of Liberation doubts the veracity of the paper since it is owned by presidential confidant Faris Sanabani. Her concerns are well taken, as whenever the Observer reports on things of this nature it is best viewed with caution. I have given my view of the Observer and Faris in the past and am not ready to dismiss their reports out of hand. I can say that this report is definitely being headed by Faris, as he usually takes the reigns during breaking events and crises.

UPDATED -Breaking News: Jamal Al-Badawi is in Jail 

ADEN – UPDATED: More that one security official at Aden Central Prison confirmed to the Yemen Observer that Jamal al-Badawi is in prison. The Yemen Observer’s Aden correspondent is on the ground attempting to gain access to the imprisoned al-Badawi for a brief statement. More updates will follow.

Jamal al-Badawi, a high-profile Al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, is in police custody, contrary to widespread media reports. Al-Badawi surrendered himself to authorities two weeks ago, according to a senior security official at the Yemeni Ministry of Interior.

The rumor that al-Badawi had been released and was being kept under effective house arrest after pledging allegiance to the authorities was denied by security officials in Yemen. A senior security official at the Ministry of Interior told Yemen Observer that al-Badawi had not been set free, nor was the sentence against him dropped as has been reported by US media.

“Jamal al-Badawi will remain in jail and under close security,” the source told the Observer which has been trying to contact al-Badawi in jail. “Investigations [into his case] are on-going, in accordance with the Yemeni law,” the source said.

Al-Badawi was convicted by a Yemeni court for planning and taking part in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 but escaped from prison last year. The US, which lost 17 sailors in the attack, has criticized the decision not to send him back to jail, an action described by American officials as inconsistent with the bilateral counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries.

Al-Badawi was sentenced to death in 2004 for his role in the bombing, but later had his sentence commuted to 15 years in prison. He escaped from jail early in 2006.  

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